A Jeri Review: Like No One is Watching (Dance, Love, Live #1) by Jaime Samms

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

Like No One Is WatchingDusty has finally landed a job he thinks he’ll be able to keep long-term, even with his broken brain and bum knee. He didn’t anticipate that cleaning a dance studio would reawaken his yearning to dance—even though he is no longer capable—or that meeting the studio’s director would rouse his dormant libido. Or his sleeping heart.

Conrad thinks his life is finally complete with his successful dance studio and a steady stream of students. When Dusty arrives, he rediscovers his thirst for a man who will let him hand over control and give him the undivided attention he’s never had. The trouble is, Dusty isn’t sure he’s worthy of the studio director’s submission.

To make their relationship work, Dusty will have to trust his ability to dominate the powerful and beautiful dancer, and Conrad will have to stop talking long enough to hear Dusty’s promise

Dusty is a custodian at a local dance school. He has resigned himself to jobs like this since he has a bad knee and a brain injury has left him “slow”. Conrad is a former professional dancer and owner of the studio. And he can’t stay away from Dusty.

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the romance blooming between Dusty and Conrad, the way Dusty did the best that he could, determined to do his job. I also enjoyed the secondary characters- the dancers.

The issues I had with the book were that even though there were a few small instances of what Dusty’s limitations were, I felt like for the most part he didn’t have limitations. At least not with his mind- and that is what was stressed over and over again. He couldn’t do this because he brain was broken or he couldn’t do that because his brain was broken. But I really didn’t SEE that in the story. It was almost an after thought.

Dusty and Conrad also play with the idea of, not so much D & s, but at least a bit alpha and beta. But again- it almost seemed as an afterthought.

I realize I am nitpicking. But I wish Dusty’s disability was explored much deeper. More a part of his life rather than “I can only be a custodian”.  And apparently Conrad also had an injury which kept him from the professional stage, but again- we didn’t get too much of that.

So while a good book, a sweet story, I wanted more. When something big is hinted at but not really explored enough, I am left with questions. Dusty’s character seemed a bit like an actor who wasn’t taking his role seriously, slipping in and out of an accent.

The cover art is absolutely gorgeous and would draw me in immediately, but ultimately it would have been nice to see both characters represented.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 154 pages
Published November 11th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1623807298 (ISBN13: 9781623807290)
edition languageEnglish
url
seriesDance, Love, Live #1

Think Love and Videogames Clash? Check Out Sex, Love, and Videogames (Serpentine Series #3)
 by CJane Elliott (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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SexLoveVideogamesFS

Sex, Love, and Videogames (Serpentine Series #3)
 by CJane Elliott
Release Date: August 21, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Where can you buy the book?  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe)

Banner300x250

My Author Interview with CJ Elliott

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing CJane Elliott, author of Sex, Love, and Videogames.

Hi CJane, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi there. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today to talk about my newest book, Sex, Love, and Videogames, the third novel in the Serpentine Series. Each book is a standalone but the series has recurring characters. Sex, Love, and Videogames is the story of Jed Carter, who we first met in Serpentine Walls, and Charlie Ambrose, a new character to the series.

• Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?

I’m influenced by the cover. I might pause at a cover that draws me in, then read the blurb. If the author isn’t known to me, I base my purchase mostly on the blurb and whether the story sounds interesting. I tend to buy women authors and I like stories about relationships. I will also buy a book based on recommendations from other authors or friends.

• What does ‘romance’ mean to you?

Romance means hope. It means that falling in love is possible and so is having your happily ever after. In my books, the characters often have to grow and change before they’re able to allow love in, but that’s what makes it satisfying when they finally get there.

• What are your current projects?

I’m about to begin the editing phase on my next Dreamspinner release, which is a follow-up story to my novella Wild and Precious. We find out what happens to Cody Bellstrom as he travels on a train out West. The story is called There You Are and will be published in December or January.

I submitted a story for the Dreamspinner holiday anthology this year, Home Is Where the Christmas Trees Are, and will hear whether or not they accepted it in September. *fingers crossed*

I’m planning my next novella in the Wild and Precious universe and the fourth novel in the Serpentine Series for publication in 2016.

But Dreamspinner had to go and add their new line: Dreamspun Desires, which is Harlequin-style romances featuring all the traditional tropes! Now I have to write something for that too!
• What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Getting started. I brainstorm ideas, make an outline, and dither around before I start the actual writing. But once I’ve gotten the first chapter written, I’m on a roll.

• Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and I work for a Hospice in my day job. Far from being an “evil day job” I truly love the work I do.

Now about Sex, Love, and Videogames

SexLoveVideogamesFS

Blurb

Shy guy Jed Carter has always felt invisible next to his charismatic older brother, Kent. Kent’s master plan for Jed is simple: University of Virginia, business, sports, and ladies’ man. None of it is Jed, except for playing on the rugby team, which he joins in defiance of soccer-loving Kent. Jed comes out in his sophomore year and starts seeing Pete, an attractive junior, who uses him for sex and videogames. Jed wants more—in life and in love—and starts making his own plans. First on the list: getting to know Charlie, the handsome guy working at the local videogame arcade.

Charlie Ambrose has always felt like an oddball, and not just for his tendency to stutter. Being gay sets him apart from his African-American community, and as a “townie,” he doesn’t fit in with the college crowd. Charlie’s inspiration is his cousin, Morocco, who’s transgender and doesn’t give a fig about fitting in. Art is Charlie’s passion, and when a local videogame designer discovers him, Charlie’s living a dream. The only thing he’s missing is love. But the last person Charlie expects to find it with is a cute, white U.Va. rugby player named Jed.

Pages or Words: 264 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay fiction, M/M Romance, New adult, *Trans, Interracial

Excerpt

“Okay, warm up laps!” Beau led the rugby team in a slow circuit around the perimeter of Mad Bowl. After a few laps, he stopped and had them do stretching exercises.
The other team did their warming up, and when they moved to take positions, Jed noticed a pair of people standing on the sidelines. His breathing stopped for a second. Charlie stood, hands in his pockets, shifting from foot to foot, while Morocco, a vision in a pink track suit, set up a camp chair (apt name, that) and sat down. Morocco saw Jed looking and waved. Charlie turned and gave a small wave himself, and Jed waved back, heart beating faster.
“Who’re they?” Bud asked, squinting over at them.
“Um, Charlie’s a guy who works at Lucky’s. In the gaming area. And the other is his cousin.”
“Hmm. Townies?”
“Yep.”
“She’s cute.”
“Um, well, about that….” Jed cut himself off because the referee blew the whistle. Time to play ball and hope he did well in front of those two.
The game proved the usual testosterone-fest, with lots of grunting and body contact. When Jed scored some points, Morocco produced pom poms that matched her outfit and waved them wildly.
At the break, Jed ran over to them for a minute to say hi—fuck what the rest of the team thought.
“Jed, child, my word!” Morocco fanned her chest. “Y’all are such manly men! Rugby is going to be my new obsession, I just know it!”
“I like it. My mom never let me play contact sports in high school, so I kinda love ramming into people.” Jed felt his cheeks flame at what he had said. Crap-a-doodle.
But Morocco laughed and Charlie faked a cough so he could smile behind his fist.
“So, hey, thanks for coming. I gotta go back now.”
Charlie nodded as Morocco said, “We’ll see you after the game.” She picked up her pom poms. “Wa-hoo-wa!”
When the team huddled before the second half, a homophobe named Welburn said with a sneer, “Who are those freaks on the sidelines?”
Another guy laughed. “Yeah. I thought all the he-shes lived in San Francisco.”
“What’re you talking about?” Bud peered over toward Charlie and Morocco. “That girl?”
Welburn spit on the ground. “That girl is no she. She’s a he. What the hell are they doing here?”
Beau raised his voice. “Hey, concentrate, guys. We need to win this game.”
Jed held up a hand to stop Beau from continuing. “Before we do that, you all need to know that those are some friends of mine. So shut your fucking faces before I shut them for you.” He leveled a lethal glare at Welburn and his compatriot.
Fueled by his anger, Jed played an amazing second half, and the team pulled out a victory on the strength of his points alone. After their team high five, he trotted over to Charlie and Morocco. Charlie smiled broadly while Morocco jumped up and down. “Jed, Jed, Jed! Wa-hoo-wa! Thass right!”
“Okay, okay.” Jed couldn’t help laughing at Morocco’s outrageous enthusiasm. “Thanks for coming to the game.”
“It was fun. I’m glad we came.” Charlie took a step back, seemingly surprised to have gotten two stutter-free sentences out.
“I’m glad too.” They gazed tentatively at each other, and Morocco suddenly got busy folding up the camp chair.

 

About the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cjane.elliott
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CJaneElliott
E-mail: cjaneelliott@gmail.com
Website: http://www.cjaneelliott.com

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of any Serpentine Series book.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
Rafflecopter Code:
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Tour Dates & Stops:
21-Aug

Boys on the Brink Reviews: http://www.boysonthebrink.com/blog-tour-and-giveaway-sex-love-and-videogames-by-cjane-elliott/

Divine Magazine: http://divinemagazine.net/book-stuff/sex-love-and-videogames-by-cjane-elliott-keep-me-in-mind-tour

Jessie G. Books: http://jessiegbooks.com/blog-tour-sex-love-and-videogames-by-cjane-elliott/

Bayou Book Junkie: http://bayoubookjunkie.blogspot.com/2015/08/keep-me-in-mind-mm-sex-love-and.html

28-Aug Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Happily Ever Chapter

4-Sep Amanda C. Stone, MM Good Book Reviews

11-Sep V’s Reads, Bike Book Reviews, The Novel Approach

18-Sep Hearts on Fire, Love Bytes

25-Sep The Jena Wade, My Fiction Nook

2-Oct Inked Rainbow Reads, BFD Book Blog

9-Oct Prism Book Alliance, Molly Lolly, Velvet Panic

 

 

WillPride

A MelanieM Review: Truth & Tenderness (Faith, Love, & Devotion #6) by Tere Michaels

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Truth and Tenderness coverNewly promoted police captain Evan Cerelli takes command of his own precinct as Matt Haight’s security business begins to expand at a rapid rate. Both of their careers require more and more of their time—away from home and each other. When his most famous clients, Daisy and Bennett Ames, suffer a traumatic breakup, Matt is drawn into a dangerous and dramatic situation. With attentions diverted, Evan and Matt’s tight-knit home life begins to unravel.

As Griffin Drake’s movie nears final edit, his thoughts turn toward building a home with his new fiancé, Jim Shea—and maybe even starting a family. Before he can think of a new family, Jim is caught up in his past. The possibility of putting Tripp Ingersoll in jail once and for all beckons, and Jim wants the closure that has long eluded him. As a new lead spurs him on, Jim begins to lose sight of the future by chasing an old ghost.

Both couples struggle to remember that “happily ever after” requires hard work, trust, and tender, open hearts.

Truth and Tenderness by Tere Michaels brings the terrific Faith, Love & Devotion series to a heartwarming and totally satisfying close.  After discovering the amazing characters Michaels introduced in Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #1), I soon became “obsessed” with these complicated men and their often tortuous path to love and HEA.  What a tough path its been for all involved, and that includes the reader.  It’s been a A Ticket Ride all the way to the end and I loved every word of it.

First there was New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli, a widower with a passel of kids.  He’s the character I most often wanted to slap upside the head….over and over again.  Evan has been one continual PITA in this series but I grew to love him mostly because Matt did.  And his kids did…as well as his sister.  Evan has lots of redeeming features that kept the readers involved in him, no matter that we often felt like giving him a boot to the rear.  He quaffled, and quibbled and ran from a character we loved immediately.  That was former Homicide Detective Matt Haight, a veritable Rubik’s Cube of emotions and doubt.  Both men had shied away from the fact that they were attracted to men and to each other.  Between Evan’s massive load of guilt over his treatment of the  dead wife he loved (although not in the way she wanted),  his kids and his wife’s parents, Evan’s journey to another relationship, let alone one with a man, was strewn with emotional land mines.  Ones he stepped on time and again.  Matt too came with enough baggage dragging behind him to outfit a trip to deepest Africa.  He had problems with trying to solve his issues with alcohol, he got fired from the police department, a job he was made to do and loved. Plus he was a total womanizer in order to hide what he felt towards men.  And it took books for these men to come together with any sort of equanimity or solidity.   There was doubt and fights even through this last story.  Man, love is hard for these two.  But also, in Tere Michaels hands, rewarding, believable, and fierce.   Through every hard won battle and advancements made, it seemed as though this pair then took as many steps backward.  And the reader was dragged back and forth along with emotional journey, becoming even more committed to their happiness along the way.

And not only did these men need to find out how to make their relationship work with their strong personalities, they had Evan’s kids to contend with and fold into their relationship as well.  That would be the twins, Danny and Elizabeth as well as the older girls, Katie and Miranda.  How I loved that Katie! In fact, these kids acted and sounded…well, like kids..ones still trying to recover from the loss of their mother. Again this was handled so authentically by the author that you wept and laughed and loved all the interaction among this family as it enlarged to include Matt.  Some kids loved Matt, others not so much seeing him as a replacement for their beloved mother.  Sound familiar?  Yep, it does.   And because it does, the stories worked even better due to the recognizable rivalry and reality they reflected back at us.

But the couple that really, completely stole my heart?  That would be Detective James “Jim” Shea, a Seattle cop, and Hollywood screenwriter Griffin Drake who met over a horrific homicide case, an investigation that runs the length of the series and is resolved finally here. Love & Loyalty (Faith, Love, & Devotion #2) was the book I went back to multiple times because this pairing was so hot, so gripping that I couldn’t get enough of them.  They were an odd pair, on the surface, but underneath, Michaels showed us two men who fit together so well, that imagining them ever parting was heartbreaking.  Jim Shea has so many  layers to him, one of which was a somewhat cold exterior he shed only with a few close friends.  Watching Griffin climb inside that barrier was such a joy of this story.  Equally so was watching the impact Jim made on Griffin’s life.

Tere Michaels created something remarkable with this series.  She brought these men, their lives, and struggle to make a difference and find love real and memorable.  I was so invested in these stories I often lost track of the fact that they were characters on a page (or screen).  I got angry over their actions (see Evan), I got frustrated when their relationship got stymied by their jobs (see all of them) and by their doubts and inability to communicate that caused them to stumble and fall repeatedly.  But then I was also there to cheer when they got it together enough to pick themselves back up and try to make it all work one more time.  How this series and the author put me and these marvelous characters through the wringer more times than I can count.  I love/hated every minute of their relationship waltzes.  How sorry I am that its finally over.

In Truth and Tenderness, all the pairings are looking fairly stable (at least for this group) when Jim decides he just can’t let go of the case that brought them all together.  There is Daisy and Bennett, Shane and Helena, Miranda and boyfriend Kent, Evan and Matt, Jim and Griffin.  While that may sound like a crowd, it’s not.  It’s all one giant extended family. But the explosions are about to start, and they happen everywhere, small and humongous just as Evan is getting his captaincy.  It’s the evil that is Tripp Ingersoil, the killer who got away with the murder of Carmen a teenage hooker, that is occupying Jim’s thoughts and time when they should be turned towards his new life with Griffin.  This is the case that brought them together when Griffin made a screenplay out of the story. It also made Jim a close friend/surrogate son of Ed Kelly, Carmen’s dad, another reason he can’t let go of this case. Well, that and the killer walked.

If someone asked me to point out one reason why this series resonated with me so, I’m not sure I could do it.  Yes, the dialog is snappy, believable and relevant in every aspect, from the “police speak” to the manner in which you talk intimately to someone you love.   Their words and conversations come at you with all the force of the grittiness that life and living entails. It’s not always pretty, flowers and hearts.  Sometimes its ugly, and painful and raw.  It’s stubbornness and silence, slamming doors and phone calls not returned.  Michaels gets that too about love and life and lays it all out here before us.   It’s not just that the characterizations are multidimensional and real, its that these men and the people that support them breathe, emote, and scream with an energy and vividness that captures you in every scene and situation.  Jim, Griffin, Evan, Matt and the rest work because we believe in them as well as their dynamics.

Same goes for the various plot threads and overall theme.  Michaels carries them all logically and authentically to the satisfying climax, including several white knuckle action scenes and situations.  Really,  you know, we wouldn’t have been happy with less.  These are police officers, detectives and killers so whatever happens need to reflect those professions, actions and accountability.  And it does.  Thank you, Tere Michaels, for that procedural attentiveness to detail as well.

Did I hate to see this end?  You betcha.  But was I happy with how it ended?  Almost.  Of course, it’s Evan and Matt who leave with that little bit of snarkiness you have come to expect from them.  I left them all 99.9 percent happy and that works for me.  It will for you too.  But if you are new to these men and their Rube Goldberg path to love and HEA, please run dont’ walk back to the first story and see how it (and they) all begin.  I have listed the stories below, use it as a list to check them all off.  And let me know which story was your favorite as you now know mine.

I highly recommend Truth & Tenderness and the entire Faith, Love, & Devotion series by Tere Michaels.  This book and this series will be on my Best of 2015 list.  Read them and find out why they should be on yours.

 Cover art by Aaron Anderson.  I don’t think I would be happy with any cover here because of all the elements I would want to see.  I thought it was ok but wanted so much more.  Probably not fair to the artist.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback      All Romance (ARe)   Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: May 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632167118
edition languageEnglish
seriesFaith, Love, & Devotion #6
charactersMatt Haight, Evan Cerelli, Jim Shea, Griffin Drake

Faith, Love & Devotion Series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, relationships and plot threads:

  • Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #1)
  • Love & Loyalty (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #2)
  • Duty & Devotion (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #3)
  • Cherish (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #4)
  • Cherish & Blessed (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #4 & #5)
  • Truth & Tenderness (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #6)

 

A MelanieM Review: Cherish & Blessed (Faith, Love, & Devotion #4&5) by Tere Michaels

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Cherish & Blessed coverFaith, Love, & Devotion: Books Four & Book Five

Cherished

After several years of happy coupledom, Matt and Evan can relax in the knowledge that their little family has survived the worst of it. The two older girls are away at college, the twins have yet to fully hit teen angst, Matt is doing well with his part time security consulting, and Evan is about to be promoted to captain—it seems like things are calm and bright.

Until they aren’t.

As the holidays approach, Evan and Matt get a shock no parent is ever prepared for: feisty Miranda, Evan’s eldest, has a new boyfriend, Kent, and they are talking marriage after just three months together. In fact, Miranda wants to bring him to Thanksgiving dinner—along with his parents, Blake and Cornelia.

Blessed

Lives are in transition as everyone gathers at the stunning Hamptons beach home of Daisy and Bennett to celebrate the christening of their new baby. Griffin and Jim—secretly growing tired of their rootless lifestyle—are in a rocky spot in their relationship. And as the godfather, Griffin finds himself yearning for something he’s sure Jim won’t be interested in.

Fatherhood.

Matt and Evan are looking to reconnect during the long weekend, as their respective careers pull them in separate directions. With less time spent together, Evan grows concerned about what will happen when the last two kids leave the nest.

1st Edition of Cherish published as an eBook by Loose Id LLC, November 2012.

 

This is the fourth and fifth book combined in the Faith, Love & Devotion series by Tere Michaels and it is a series close to my heart. We first met Matt and Evan in the first book Faith & Fidelity, at the angst ridden beginnings of their relationship. Then Evan was mourning the loss of his beloved wife and first and only person he has ever slept with. In addition to his grief, he was trying to do his job as a police officer and fill in the void for his four kids left behind when his wife died. Evan is full of pain, grief and overburdened by stress and doubts about his ability to be a good father and step up to the plate. Matt is a complete mess when the reader and Evan first encounter him. Forced to resign from the police force he loves over behavior issues, he has become a bitter, disillusioned drunk, getting by as a security cop and on anonymous sex with women. But a conversation in a bar and the exchange of personal confidences leads to an unlikely friendship that eventually turns into a shattering love affair that forces each man to rethink his sexuality and their acceptance of the fact that they love each other. It is a tough road for Evan and Matt, especially Evan, who has the reactions of his children, former inlaws and police force to think about.

One of the things I cherish about this series is that Tere Michaels lets us in on the emotional fallout and oscillating feelings, including bouts of denial, that come with identity earthquakes. By that I mean the paradigm shifts that occur within a person when the most basic self knowledge is proven wrong. And being gay or bisexual is a major shift for them both. The author lets their relationship play out, not over one book but four stories, including this one. The Evan/Matt relationship here is the strongest it has ever been (and that’s saying something) but even here it has its shaky moments, most of which come from the stress brought on by Miranda. Let me tell you, there are many times that I am as frustrated with Miranda as everyone else in her family. I don’t like her behavior, I can’t think of too many people who would.  But it is  realistic?  Yes, I think so.  And while we all would wish that Evan  get a grip when dealing with her, those of us who have been in his shoes will also understand his reluctance. But does that sound like I think of them as characters? No it does not. And that’s the beauty of these stories and these amazing characters, they might make you gnash your teeth and pull some hair, but they are never anything less than believable.

Michaels also takes into account how much alike fathers and their daughters can be as Evan and Miranda’s behavior is often a reflection of each other. Matt too has aged and grown into his role as caregiver/second father to at least 3 of the kids, and his growth is as realistic and wry as can be. Tere Michaels has a wonderful grip on relationship dynamics, not only between romantic partners but familial relationships too. Siblings squabbles, family arguments, and the small joys of an established bond are all found here in this latest addition to the series.

Cherish takes place over Thanksgiving and includes the family of Miranda’s boyfriend, which adds that unknown element so often present at Thanksgiving when multiple family groups, including strangers, are brought together and forced to engage each other on the most intimate of American celebrations, the Thanksgiving dinner. Expectations are perhaps unreasonably high for what we think this holiday with its traditions of being grateful and giving thanks will bring. And that stress alone has blown up more turkeys than any fryer on the market. I will tell you that all ends well, at least temporarily for this wonderful family I have become so fond of.

Then comes Blessed and the tribe, at least part of it, is gathering together again…this time for Shane and Helena’s wedding.  It’s stressful, funny, and wry look at relationships formed when older.  But Shane and Helena’s marriage is making the others ask Matt and Evan when they will get married and once again the ground under them starts to shake. I loved this section because I adore the secondary characters  Michaels created as a support system for the main couples.

Missing from the wedding?  Jim and Griffin who are on their way to Albany where Griffin’s dad has had a heart attack.  Griffin is a mess, Jim is being his rock and uncertainty is in the air.  and then later at the Drake household where Griffin’s father has had a heartattack.  And instead of the word blessed, I often thought of substituting the word blessed as in “There isn’t a blessed thing you can do about it!”  Add a  damnit or two as well.  Because things are still shaky here underneath a calm exterior for a number of our favorite couples.  Once again, Michaels has chosen to be into the raw and gritty of the relationship dynamics instead of the “hearts and flowers”.  The author grounds us into the sometimes painful reality of the uncertainty, statsis and silence of non communication that can descend on the most loving of couples.  And it plays out here for Matt and Evan, Jim and Griffin, and Daisy and Bennett.  One happy moment in one of the couple’s  relationship leaves an elephant of a subject matter in another pairing, a big relationship topic that the men are afraid to bring up.  Why? Because doing so will take some deep introspection into their past lives and present emotional status.  That’s always a scary prospect no matter how wealthy or experienced you may be and it sets the stage beautifully for the next book to come up.

Blessed is more a series of relationship vinaigrettes than a complete story.  It skips from one situation and time line to the next.  From the birth of Daisy and Bennett’s baby to their house in the Hamptons, with each scene portraying a moment or two in each couple’s growth in their relationship.  I loved each  segment, as it provides needed momentum and respite from the  uncertainty and doubt that comes with most of the other stories.  However, its Tere Michaels at the pen and however happy the couples appear, the cracks and fissures are starting to appear that will cause the foundations to shake for all of them in Truth and Tenderness, the 6th and final story in the series.

Truthfully, I can’t get enough of all of the couples and their combined stories.  Sometimes their actions anger or frustrate, or give cause for hope and joy, or something realistically in between.  Love and relationships take work.  That’s a truth that should be painted at every wedding chapel or city hall.  Fairy tales last but a moment and then real life sets in.  That’s what Tere Michaels excels at giving us….couples we love living their lives realistically and authentically as possible.  Yes, there are crimes committed, ones that get you locked up and others against the heart.  Michaels charts them all and lays them out in this amazing series of novels.

I highly recommend them all and find myself eagerly awaiting the final installment.  I’ll meet you there.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson.  I find all these covers a little bland and nondescript.  Nothing to separate this story from anyone else’s.  Too bad.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback   All Romance (ARe)  Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 200 pages
Published February 13th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781634761994
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
seriesFaith, Love, & Devotion #4&5

Here are the books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the history and couples involved:

  • Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #1)
  • Love & Loyalty (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #2)
  • Duty & Devotion (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #3)
  • Cherish (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #4)
  • Cherish & Blessed (Faith, Love, & Devotion #4 & 5)
  • Truth & Tenderness (Faith, Love, & Devotion #6) series finale

 

Sunday After The Storm, September Thoughts and The Week Ahead in Reviews

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Well, that wasn’t a fun night for anyone around here in Maryland, or even straight up the coast and into NYC.  High winds, tornados, hail, and rain,  lots and lots of rain.  Our neighborhood was without power for about 8 hours, but at least we did not have tornados to  deal with, as others in Maryland, Virginia and NYC did.  Other than some branches falling, we came out of it rather well.  I wish I could say the same for others.  Nature is all stirred up and doing something about it.  Perhaps we should listen a little harder to what she is trying to tell us.  Just a thought.  Now on to more pleasant things….

September always seems to me to be the reset  month.  Summer has ended but Autumn has yet to make it’s appearance.  September is the breather between the two.  September gives us time to gather our thoughts, to recollect on Summer doings and to think ahead and plan for Fall.  For a gardener, it can be such a busy time.  Hydrangeas need fertilizing and mulching in, so do the roses, some of which are still blooming.  Trees get to be trimmed, old vegetables dug up and composted while still remembering to refill the hummingbird feeders for the last of the migrants on their way south. Some flowers will be left standing, their seed-heads offering food to Goldfinches and the like.  The windows will open and Kirby will be the first there to rest his head on the windowsill, contemplating the birds, and squirrels, and the hawks circling in the sky above.  The geese honk overhead, hurrying their way to the Marshlands as a few leaves turn yellow and drop.  I love this time of year.  I have time to smell the last  rose, put mums in the planters, and admire the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds skimming through the gardens, visiting the feeders before their long journey ahead. Less humidity means more time spent outside, reading, observing, and enjoying the cooler breezes.  I hope you all are doing the same.

Here is the week ahead in Reviews:

Monday:                      Play It Again, Charlie by R. Cooper

Tuesday:                       Alone in the Crowd (Cattle Valley #27) by Carol Lynne

Wednesday:                Love in La Terreza by Ethan Day

Thursday:                    Unconventional At Best Anthology

Friday:                          Love, Hypothetically by Anne Tenino

Saturday:                      Life As A Fairy Thrall (Fairy Compacts #2) by Katey Hawthorne